Failed construction signs confuse drivers, causes traffic jams


Drivers heading northbound on Interstate 95 in Baltimore, Maryland, found themselves confused and sitting in traffic after the Maryland Transportation Authority failed to do its job. The state didn’t update signage to tell drivers how to navigate a new construction pattern.

Officials changed a lane split to one right lane and three left lanes, from an earlier split of two lanes to each side.

The split allows commuters who stay to the left at the initial split to still access exits for Interstate 395 and Key Highway, if they stay to the right after the split. The single lane to the right at the initial split was for drivers taking the exit onto Russell Street, but also allows exits onto I-395 and Key Highway.

Signs describing the change stated that drivers exiting onto I-395 or Key Highway should be in the two right lanes, referring to the single right lane before the split and the right-most lane of the three left lanes at the split.

Many drivers interpreted that message to mean they should get to the right, driving almost all the traffic intended for Russell Street, I-395 and Key Highway into the single right lane.

In addition to the confusing physical signs, the highway’s large electronic messaging board malfunctioned when officials tried to clear up the confusion.

Crews worked all day to fix the signs. Luckily everything was sorted out before any serious accident took place. One of Better Road’s tips for highway work zone safety is to always update signage for drivers.